CITIZEN: Fixing Stittsville park plan is child’s play

Kelly Egan writes in the Ottawa Citizen:

When the City of Ottawa put together its “concept plan” for Amberway Park in Stittsville, there was a graphic of a new play structure, a legend and scale, lots of arrows and those perfect circular trees only architects can grow.

But it lacked an essential element: enough child’s play.

Anthony Fiorenza could see that straight away, from experience. He’s 12, and pretty much grew up in the park off Denham Way, playing his heart out on the wobbly bridge, the slide, the swings, the monkey bars, which are all being changed.

So he took out a piece of lined paper, the kind for three-ring binders, and began writing in pencil: “Dear Counselor Shad Qadri.”

Qadri, who represents Stittsville, must be wondering about emerging kid power in his ward, fresh off a campaign from an 11-year-old to have a girls’ trophy case installed at Goulbourn Recreation Complex. (Hockey player Danika Glenn, in fact, is in Anthony’s class at St. Stephen School.)

“My Mom showed me what it might look like and I can tell it’s not a park I would play at,” Anthony wrote, detailing his concerns for two pages and leaving his email address. Sister Alessa, 10, also chimed in, coming up with her own point-form plan for improvements.

The new structure looks too small and not challenging enough for older kids, he wrote, and the wobbly bridge should be retained. As for younger kids, “THERE IS NO SAND!” he block hollered. “Sand is like the best part of going to the park.”

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